NI Assembly election: Campaign hits campuses as crocs bite back
Students urged to make voice heard
International students in Northern Ireland are being urged not to miss out on their chance to vote in the assembly election, with registration forms in several languages distributed across university campuses.
The National Union of Students-Union of Students in Ireland (NUS-USI) has been out and about to tell them to “make sure their voices are heard”.
NUS-USI president Fergal McFerran said there is a “huge population” of students from abroad, and the union has been helping them apply for a vote.
“People from different parts of the world that are here to study are also entitled to vote, so we’ve brought forms in lots of different languages to encourage them all to have their say in Northern Ireland’s future as well,” he said.
Northern Ireland students living away from home are being encouraged by to apply for a postal or proxy vote before Friday’s 17:00 GMT deadline.
Mr McFerran said students feel strongly about equality issues and a “severe lack of investment” in further and higher education.
“More and more students that I speak to tell me about their anger and the lack of progress on some of the issues and Stormont doesn’t always reflect those,” he added.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if there is a higher turnout in this election.”
Does Bell toll for solo-run Jonathan?
He was cast aside by the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) after breaking ranks to make astonishing allegations on the catastrophic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme.
But Jonathan Bell is now going solo in a bid to defend his assembly seat even though he remains a member of the party.
Standing as an independent is “not the choice I would’ve made”, he told BBC Radio Ulster’s The Stephen Nolan Show on Tuesday, but added that “it’s the choice that the suspension forced me into.”
He will face a battle against three DUP colleagues in the Strangford constituency, but insists revenge is not on his agenda.
And he said Mike Nesbitt did not extend a hand of friendship with an invitation to join the Ulster Unionists.
Next week will mark a full year on from the date on which the then enterprise minister eventually closed the RHI scheme after it careered far beyond its budget.
And Mr Bell said he is looking forward to “to placing my hand on the Bible” to reveal “a huge volume of material that I have not as yet disclosed” about the scandal that has brought Stormont down.
A full list of candidates will be published on the BBC News NI website on Thursday 9 February.
Activists snap over crocodile jibe
After finally snapping into action on Monday with the DUP and Sinn Féin exchanging reptile jibes, the election campaign trail has continued on that theme.
Advocates of Irish got their teeth into DUP leader Arlene Foster after she said she would not “feed” the Sinn Féin “crocodile” by giving in to demands for an act to give official status to the language.
Donning fancy dress, four protesters gathered outside a DUP office in north Belfast to bite back…
BBC News NI’s Campaign Catch-up will keep you across the Northern Ireland Assembly election trail with a daily dose of the main stories, the minor ones and the lighter moments in the run up to polling day on 2 March.
Source: BBC News – Northern Ireland